The Carolina Hurricanes played the best period of their season Saturday night in Toronto. Also, the Toronto Maple Leafs are a feckless, soft team incapable of beating the Zamboni driver. The loss could have big ramifications for the NHL trade deadline strategy as there is a real concern in Toronto. The Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau sweepstakes are coming down to the wire, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are struggling at the wrong time.
First, the Penguins on-ice story. They were hammered again. First by Buffalo. Then by their coach. This story includes some inside info and context (PHN+)
Evgeni Malkin locker room video. “We keep making the same mistakes.” You know Malkin is always brutally honest (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Now to the really fun stuff. David Ayres. A 42-year-old kidney transplant recipient, Zamboni driving, emergency goalie. He earned his first NHL win and his wife blew up Twitter (Sportsnet)
Elliotte Friedman also linked the Penguins to Wayne Simmonds (trust me, circle this) and to Zach Bogosian (Sportsnet)
Dude grabbed his 15 minutes of fame, too. He held court with reporters and was every bit funny and awesome. The Carolina Hurricanes had a blast with it, too. Oh, by the way, the loss nearly dropped Toronto out of the playoff seeds but the win put Carolina in a wild-card spot. Three Metro division teams are tied with 74 points for the two wild-card spots, and Toronto is in third place with 72.
…Go back to the best eight!
Alex Ovechkin scored No. 700, finally. Then celebrated. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)
The boys at Sportsnet had a lot of names to discuss during the weekly headlines segment during HNIC (Sportsnet)
Our boy Mark Lazerus at The Athletic used Twitter to drop some NHL trade deadline scoops, including Carolina calling Chicago mid-game. Here’s the tweet string:
According to two sources, the Hurricanes already have reached out to the Blackhawks in light of the injuries to their goalies tonight.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) February 23, 2020
Could the Saturday night loss have bigger ramifications for Toronto? (TSN)
It should. That team has to work too hard to be good, despite gobs of talent.
We have a lot more Penguins inside news to report. That will be coming on PHN today and tomorrow, probably. We felt it best to let some dust settle from yesterday. We had a lot of talk. The Wayne Simmonds angle seems much more plausible today than it did Friday.